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"The Dutch Album" by Irina Kholodna

Dec 06, 2017

Irina is an Ukrainian mathematician and photographer currently based in Berlin who creates picturesque images that clearly resemble Baroque paintings. Such is the case of the series presented here, which resembles in content and composition the oeuvres of the Dutch masters of the 17th century. In her images we can appreciate an extraordinary use of natural light and a wonderful sense of composition. Following we present an interview that we had with Irina: am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us? IK - I grew up in Ukraine, in Kharkov, the city known in the photographic world thanks to Boris Mikhailov. I studied mathematics at Kharkov University and later continued at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where I got a PhD degree. The five years I spent in Ireland were very special for me. I still miss the country and return there regularly for holidays. After Ireland I moved to Berlin, where I started a family and where my two children were born. am - How did you start in photography? IK - Unfortunately I couldn't return to mathematics, instead I started to photograph, quite unexpectedly actually. I was new in Berlin, and having little children, not very mobile. To find new friends I decided to write a blog. But writing texts wasn’t really my thing, so I bought a small digital camera and started to post pictures. I liked this so much that very soon photography became an important part of my life. am - What inspires your work? IK - I don't really know how to describe things that inspire me. Beautiful light, special atmosphere? Something in this direction, I guess. I rarely get inspired by other photographers. More often by fine art or sometimes by films. In a broad sense, by books. am - What is “The Dutch Album” about? IK - I describe "The Dutch Album" as an attempt to fuse two different aesthetics. From one side, most of the pictures in the series are true snapshots, none of them are staged, even the stills are completely coincidental. And from the other side, they are often reminiscences of classical paintings, especially by the old Dutch masters. The play with these two themes is the subject of the book. am - How would you describe your visual language? IK - I find the classical qualities -- light, colours, composition -- essential. I prefer a clear visual language, but I don’t like too straightforward messages, when the photographer's intention is too visible. am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists? IK - I don't like the word "favourite", it's too final. There are some names that have been or still are important to me. But this list is not constant, not hierarchical and never complete. For example, Stephen Shore, Andrei Tarkovsky, Edward Hopper would be a small extraction from this list. am - What’s your favourite movie? IK - Again, I don't like to say favourite. Recently "Once upon a time there was a singing blackbird" impressed me. It’s an old film made back in the 70-s by the French-Georgian director Otar Iosseliani. I find it ingenious! Ever since I saw it half a year ago, I try to advertise it to as many people as possible. In a way this film is also like a Dutch painting. It attracts you by its liveliness and naive beauty, but behind each small detail there are hidden sacral symbols and interpretations. am - What is your favourite photo book? IK - One of my recent favourites is "I, Oblomov" by Ikuru Kuwajima, a Japanese photographer based in Russia. I’m a proud owner of a signed copy! am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine. IK - Thank you for the invitation and interesting questions!!

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